Simpson Student, Ryan Rohlf, part of Des Moines Arts Festival Awards

Ryan Rohlf is a standout marketing and PR student at Simpson. He has excelled in the classroom, done internships both on-campus and off, is involved with the Religious Life Community at Simpson and one month ago, took his first plane right wtith a group of 20 Simpson students to study at Roehampton University in London, England for the semester with Professor Brian Steffen.

Ryan’s internship at the Des Moines Arts Festival was profiled earlier this summer, shortly before the festival occurred in June. Now that the festival has received a number of Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association, we wanted to check back in with Ryan as he reflects on the work he did for the Arts Festival and as he looks forward to his semester in London and his work in the Spring.

Skype with Ryan Rohlf
We Skyped with Ryan one Tuesday morning and he shared his thoughts on the Pinnacle Awards and what they mean for the festival and for his own professional development.



From the Association, “Each year, the International Festivals & Events Association recognizes outstanding accomplishments and top quality creative, promotional, operational and community outreach programs and materials produced by festivals and events around the world, with the Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Competition.”

Ryan had a hand in a number of the awards the Des Moines Arts Festival won this year.   Ryan was involved with the design of the newspaper insert, the program guide, market research and the general compilation and content writing for the materials turned into the IFEA.

Ryan sees multiple benefits of the awards: Additional attention is given to the festival, promoting it to a higher level which brings in higher attendance and bigger artists each year. On a wider scope, the attention on the Arts Festival also increases the city’s visibility as we work to grow the community. The awards also give a sense of satisfaction to the team Ryan was a part of-they worked hundreds of hours preparing for the festival and during the event, so to see the awards gives them something to look back on and be proud of.  The awards will certainly also add to his professional portfolio as he looks to a career in advertising and PR after graduation!

Ryan Rohlf London
We also had a chance to hear about how things are going in London as Ryan gets started with his first week of classes. So much in the city is different: learning how to use public transportation, finding the grocery stores, the different format of classes and so much more. Ryan is also having a good time studying the advertising in the UK: unlike in the US where advertisements are quick, humorous and loud; advertisements he’s seen in the UK are more dramatic as they draw viewers in. Ryan is one of two students keeping a blog in London; you can follow their adventures at

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